While we know we did an interview with Lena Scissorhands just in November, there was already again a pile of questions. So guess what we did? Right, we did another one! We talked about labels, the current situation and about giving interviews. Without further ado, let’s dive right into it.
MG: Infected Rain just released its 5th full length album. How are you feeling? What are the reactions, you received, so far?
Lena: Very good reactions actually. It was beyond all our expectations. People really love it. It became one of their favourites very fast. We have been doing great on some charts, which was never our goal. But it’s definitely pleasant to see, that people appreciate it that much! So, we are very happy with it.
MG: In the time you could not go on tour you were still very busy. You were writing Ecdysis with your band mates from Infected Rain. You did several collabs with other bands, like Seas on the Moon. What were the obstacles you had to overcome in order to work on all this projects?
Lena: The only real obstacle was really to find a way to be as productive and to be as creative as always, but also to be able to work remotely more than before, which you know. I have been living in the United States for the past 6 years, so I’m pretty used to work remotely with my own band. But when it came to bigger projects and actual studio recordings and filmings, I would always fly back to Moldova and work with them. But for the past 2 years when travelling was banned or certain rules were in effect, we had to learn how to work even more remotely. I had to learn a recording program and I built my own vocal studio in my house and I literally learned how to do it myself. And that’s the reason why I have been able to do so many collaborations and I have been able to do the post production of the entire album by myself. Which is something I never did before, you know? I know I am not the only one, but vocalists normally, I don’t want to generalize, I know there are absolutely independent vocalists out there, who can do many things themselves at home and they are very handy with programs and recordings. I wasn’t! You know, normally a vocalist is in a completely different room, with a specific sound and environment and then you hear your sound engineer and the producer over your headphones and work together. It’s never been me by myself alone. So the most challenging part about this story was not only to learn a recording program from scratch, which is a pretty complex program! I only learned what I needed to know about the vocal part. I am not that skilled…. [laughs]. But the most challenging part was to be my own critic and to judge by myself, which pieces are good enough, you know? But other than that it was not that challenging. It was a lot of fun! I could keep my mind occupied and be creative the entire time. And for some reason I have never been able to do that before, although I really wanted to. But time was never on my side. You know, we were always touring, I never had time to build my own vocal studio in my own house and learn how to record myself. So, in a certain way I am thankful for having that downtime, so I could actually learn a new skill. I think that in the past 2 years I have been doing some 30ish songs already. That includes the album, so that is 12 songs already. And everything else was collaborations, featurings that didn’t come out yet. I can do that now a little bit easier because I have the skill, that I had time to learn, which is super awesome!
MG: I guess, experience also helps a lot, right?
Lena: Of course! And not only! I have to absolutely give a shout out to my musicians and especially to my producer Valentin. He is our producer since our very first album, he is also the founder and guitarist of Seas on the Moon. He always want s to work with me and he teaches me so much just through working with him.
MG: Did the past 2 years take Infected Rain down an unexpected songwriting direction musically and lyrically for the new album or did things proceed as per what was already planned?
Lena: No, we didn’t plan to sit down and write an album that fast, because we just released Endorphin at the end of 2019. And we all know what happened in the beginning of 2020. That year was supposed to be very busy travelling and touring for us, but it didn’t happen! So, after waiting for a while, we were like: The plans we had, are not working. So we need to come up with a new plan. And the new plan was just to work with what we have. And what we had at the moment, was sitting at home and working and composing. That’s pretty much it. Everything else was pretty much the same. You know, the boys were rehearsing, we were talking remotely, just the way we always did.
MG: I know you love going on tour, but you also enjoy to have some time for yourself. What did you do to cope with the situation being unable to do what you love and go on tour?
Lena: That is related to what I told you before. Obviously in the beginning we couldn’t do much and I couldn’t do much either. Because I was alone in a different country from my band. I couldn’t even just work with them. It was quite depressing, I won’t lie. Because also this whole Covid situation and the lockdown happened after I was barely putting my life back together. I was dealing with some personal stuff, which didn’t help much, as I was barely coming out of one situation and all of a sudden I had to deal with this big situation. I mean, an entire world had to, but for me it was something that came right after. And it was very depressing. I was broke, I was depressed, I was alone, I had no one, barely a couple of people I knew here at that time because being a travelling musician doesn’t even give you the opportunity to make friends. So finally and eventually with the help of my musicians I rolled my sleeves and that’s what I did. I built a vocal studio with my own hands in my own house, invested in the program and the equipment to work properly at the level that I am used to, that my band is used to. And I started composing and writing a lot and tried to dedicate as much time as possible for being creative. In fact in the first year I did some artwork that I sold on auctions to help the band a little bit and the crew and other people around the band that were suffering from being jobless. So I tried to be as creative as I could.
MG: You were on North America tour last year with Butcher Babies and Stitched Up Heart. What was it like to be on stage again after all this long months?
Lena: That tour was so special for so many reasons. It was the first tour after the lockdown for sure and that was amazing. You know, we all missed the stage so much! Another reason why this tour was so special is, it was our first american tour, which we tried to make happen for years now and it just didn’t happen. And we have a very big following here in America. So seeing all the fans wearing your older merchandise and know the lyrics of your songs and knowing they are there for you. It was really awesome! Another big reason why this tour was so amazing is, we were going on tour with friends. We are very close with Butcher Babies, especially I am with Heidi. It was awesome, completely different. It’s not just someone you go on tour with and you become friends during the tour, what happened to us before. You know, you connect after a while when you do the same thing, you are there for the same cause. But already being friends prior and being able to talk about everything and help each other with everything… They were there for us, when we needed them and we helped them in certain unexpected situations during their shows, their sound check or whatever it was that was happening. On our days off we went exploring together. I know you are following me and the band very closely, so I am sure you remember the pictures. Niagara Falls, Washington D.C. when we just like went out together, the bands, the crews and everybody and had fun.
MG: I remember the Instagram stories. What experience(s) from your childhood / youth helped you prepare for your career as musician?
Lena: Well, I don’t think any experience from my past in general prepared me for this, because I never planned this! I never planned to be a musician. It wasn’t ever on my radar. When I was very young I chose a career as Hair- and Make Up Artist and I have been working in that industry for so many years. I loved it with all my heart. And I never thought I could find something I love more than that until I tried to sing. But definitely when I actually already did and when I was actually considering being a musician at a professional level and I chose to do that for life, that was when I knew that I am always going to write about my life and of course I wrote a lot about my past experiences, including my childhood as well.
MG: Now that you have been taking cooking classes, can we expect a recipe book some time?
Lena: Actually that ‘s something a lot of people have been asking for, so I’m considering that pretty seriously. You know, hopefully I will have enough time to be creative like that, but I think it’s a great idea, because even before I took some cooking lessons, close fans know how much I enjoy cooking and how much fun I am having with food. So, I don’t know when, but it is definitely on my to do list. It’s so funny, I have my to do list right here and I’m gonna show you, what’s on it, because I know this is not going to be a video interview. [Shows me a part of her to do list] I have a bunch of to do lists and papers and reminders all over my table. It is an artistic mess.
MG: “The Devils Dozen” was a huge success. But there are many who didn’t have the chance to see it. Any chance that it will be released in any way, e.g. DVD/BluRay/whatever?
Lena: Absolutely! It is definitely our plan, because we received so much love for it. So, absolutely yes. We will do that. I do not know when, because there is still a lot of work around this album and I am having a lot of interviews every single day. And there is still a lot of work around the album we have released, which is good, you know? It keeps us busy, it keeps us on the radar, which is very good for the band. It gives us opportunities to open doors to bigger festivals and bigger tours. That’s why we are working really hard right now. But it is definitely in our plans, our label is very pleased and very happy about the results of how that came out and the feedback from the people. They all think we should immortalize that, for sure.
MG: You mentioned your label. Which leads me to the next question. You have been independent for many years. How much does your situation from back then differ from your situation now that you are signed?
Lena: I think being signed with a label, especially a label that is so positive and supportive of your work can only mean good and new possibilities on a new level for the band. It all depends on the label I think. Because we’ve had a lot of proposals throughout our career, including Napalm Records. Actually their first proposal was around 2016 maybe, or even earlier. We signed in 2019, yes I think 4 years in a row we were communicating back and forth. Because we weren’t ready to sign for our personal reasons. But they were very insisting and keeping up with us, checking out everything new that we do. And I remember: after we released “86” when we had such great reactions from people, especially on the music video for “Orphan Soul”, I remember how much they were always commenting and telling us how much they like what we do. We were a little bit sceptical and afraid, because we have been independent for so many years. And this is typical. After you do it for so many years it is really difficult to trust somebody new. However, we are all very happy. There are obviously ups and downs in every single situation. There are ups and downs in being independent. But there are way more ups and downs when you are independent compared to when you have a big team on board with you, working with you for what you need to be, where you need to be, where you need to go into the direction where you want to go. Because when you are independent you have a lot of doubts. It’s a gamble, you are not a professional. You have to be your own secretary, booking agent, manager, artist, everything. It’s insane! You can’t keep up with everything, especially when the band is doing well. So it is really nice to have professional people on board, who help you to stay focused on what you are, who you are and where you want to go. So, me personally, I want to answer from my own perspective: I am happy to have such amazing people on board.
MG: You are doing a lot of interviews. So it is hard if not next to impossible to keep track of them all. Thus it most likely happens that you are asked the same questions over and over again. How do you feel about this and how do you deal with this?
Lena: Well, for instance, the question you started with, was exactly the question I have been answering for the past….1,5 months, almost every single interview. But that is ok! Because it is related to something that the band just released. And that is totally fine. I get a little bit annoyed, I guess and I am not afraid to use that word, with questions that are insanely old! Like “What does the name of the band mean?” or “How did the band start?” Things that are so general or so old already. However, I do understand that the band…. it has only been a couple of years that the band made it to the radar of certain magazines or certain publishers and they do not know that the band has been around for so many years. They are in fact shocked that the band has been around for so many years and they just now heard about us. And that is another reason why we needed to to go to the next level and sign with the label, because independently there is only so much you can do. Now, obviously I am trying to nicely answer every single question. I understand that it comes with the job. And I also understand that even if you are a die-hard fan you are not going to really read every single interview, because you just can’t keep up with it. Just like you said: some slip through and you didn’t even know there was an interview. And yes, that is true, that as a die-hard fan you might find an interview a little more boring than the other, but the only reason is because you already know so much about the band. But imagine the new listeners, who do not know anything about the band! We have to think about those people too, right?
MG: Right! Thank you for your time and for having us!